Ghana will look to bounce back from letting a two-goal lead slip against Congo when they take on Mali in the 2013 African Cup of Nations this Thursday.
The Black Stars were one of the favorites heading into the tournament, but having only picked a up a draw from their opening match, and now find themselves in desperate need of a win when they take on current group-leader, Mali.
Mali netted a 1-0 victory over Niger in the final five minutes of play and will be looking to back it up now with a strong performance against Ghana.
It should be a very intriguing matchup between the two African teams—read on for all the latest injury and team news heading into this one.
Group: Group B, match three
When: Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 10 a.m. ET
Where: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Latest injury and team news
Ghana will welcome back experienced defender Isaac Vorsah from a thigh injury. Vorsah will most likely take the place of Jerry Akaminko at the back here.
Head coach Kwesi Appiah said that the change will benefit his team's defense and is a necessary change to make to adapt to Mali's style of play.
Any tactic that you play depends on the opponent that you are meeting; you look at how your opponent plays and then you adopt your tactical play.
Saying that, playing against Mali will depend on how we saw the game yesterday, so we will sit down and plan our tactics.
Both striker Richmond Boakye-Yiadom and Anthony Annan are set to miss the match with injuries, which comes as a huge blow for the Black Stars' chances.
Asamoah Gyan and Wakaso Mubarak also both picked up injuries against Congo (per Goal), but are expected to line up for Ghana here.
Kwadwo Asamoah spoke out via AFCON 2013 Online recently—commenting on his move from offensive midfielder to left back for Ghana.
The Juventus star said that he prefers playing at the back, but with the 24-year-old having a hand in both of Ghana's goals against Congo, many believe that his attacking skills are better harnessed in midfield.
I'm very comfortable playing left-back. It's nothing new to me as I play a similar role at my club [Juventus].
I don't have a problem playing there as it's up to the coach to decide on the players for a particular position.
No new information is yet known on Mali, with the Eagles expected to line up pretty much the same team that beat Niger in their opening match.
Former Barcelona player Seydou Keita again proved in that match that he still has the skills required to thrive in international competition—netting the lone goal of the match—and he will once again be the go-to guys or the Eagles attack here.
Possible starting lineups
Goal.com has listed their possible starting lineups for the match, with Anthony Annan for Ghana the biggest question mark from the starting sides.
This one should definitely be an interesting affair, given that the result could have a significant say in the final group standings, but once again, Ghana will go into this one as the clear favorites.
They looked strong in the opening half against Congo in attack, and will know that they let a huge opportunity slip by allowing the Leopards back into the match.
Expect them to turn in a much more solid performance defensively, and whilst Mali will try and hold this shape against the Black Stars, Ghana will simply have too much class in the end and will take the lead some during the second half.
Final score: Ghana 1, Mali 0
What do you think will happen here between Ghana vs. Mali?
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